Zoë Charlton: Family
David Levinthal: War
Gabriel de la Mora : video
November 14, 2008 – January 3, 2009
Zoë Charlton presents Family (2008), a new series of large format drawings. Statuesque nude figures drawn from live models portray characteristics of the artist’s female cousins, demonstrating diverse personalities within her Florida-based African American family. In these drawings Charlton explores how inherited traits interact with personal choices to define the self. Elaborating naturalistic figural imagery with culturally-laden attributes that reveal individuality, she construes the formation of personal identity as an analog to, or perhaps a model for, artistic creation.
In War David Levinthal juxtaposes Iraq (2008), his latest series of photographs, with selections from his seminal work Hitler Moves East (1977). In grad school at Yale, he and Garry Trudeau recreated the WWII German military invasion of Russia with toy soldiers. This Kodalith film series catalyzed the fabrication movement in photography. Viewers are invited to consider Levinthal’s first body of work in relation to his new digital photographs of toy models, which represent the US invasion of Iraq. In conjunction with FOTOWEEK DC, Conner Contemporary will host a gallery talk and champagne reception with the artist on Saturday, November 15, at 11 am.
In his two-channel video, 39-G.M.C.-23.sept.2007, Gabriel de la Mora batters a life-size self-portrait, formed as a Mexican piñata. Instead of candy, colored paper arteries, veins, internal organs and red confetti blood pour out of the artist’s Doppelgänger as he strikes it with a stick. The performance culminates with him collecting the remains from the floor and depositing them in an acrylic vitrine reminiscent of reliquary. In this work de la Mora destroys one cliché of popular Mexican culture to bring forth references to other cultural traditions, including surrealist art and relic devotion.